WikidataCon 2017

Image by: Rama [CC BY-SA 3.0 fr ( or CeCILL (], via Wikimedia Commons

In our opinion WikidataCon 2017 was a resounding success. We re-connected with many fellow Wikimedians and met new connections both inside and outside of the Wikimedia Community. The mood of the conference was one of improvement, collaboration and discussion, personally it felt like the unofficial theme of the conference was:

“The potential impact of Wikidata on our world is immense, let’s make sure we realise that potential”

Few things worth doing are easy, and the Wikidata project is certainly not exempt from this rule, few projects outside of Wikipedia itself come close to the scope of what is trying to be achieved with Wikidata. And just like Wikipedia, it is obvious to many that Wikidata can have a similar (if not even greater) impact on how we share and consumes knowledge. To say we here at Histropedia believe Wikidata is an important project is a serious understatement. Not just for our own project, but to the open data community as whole.

For these reasons, and because the community building Wikidata understand the importance of the project, there is very little resting on laurels here. It is the mantra of “we are great, but we must be better” that echoes through the conference rooms of the Der Tagesspiegel offices in Berlin where WikidataCon was held.


Highlights from WikidataCon 2017:


How can GLAMs grab the low hanging fruit?

Presented byEuropeana (Netherlands, France, Italy)


Liam and the team gave a very informative talk on the ways to convince GLAMS to get more involved in Wikidata, and opened up discussions on how Europeana can help facilitate this involvement.

This talk was very relevant to us as we are often in a position where we are talking to GLAMs about their data, and advising them on ways to link or donate their data to Wikidata. We will certainly be reviewing the advice from this talk and seeing how we can apply it to our next GLAM encounter.

Video – Slides – Etherpad

Wikidata loves GLAMs

Presented  by: Jason Evans (Jason.nlw)

Jason gave a great talk on the amazing work he has been doing with the National Library of Wales. Showing how he has worked with them to vastly improve the quality of their data be incorporating it with Wikidata.

We have been working closely with Jason, who has been using our WikidataTimeline Query Generator tool to show how the value and usability of their data increases when it is added to Wikidata. We hope to continue working closely with Jason to help him achieve his goals at the NLW.

Video – Etherpad

Wikidata quality: a data consumers’ perspective

Presented by: Alessandro Piscopo (User:Alessandro Piscopo)

We attended Alessandro’s talk where we split into groups by type of consumer and discussed some of the issues we have with the quality of Wikidata data. The talk was useful and there was lots of discussion, possibly more discussion was needed but time was a limitation.

As data consumers it was very interesting for us to hear the issues which affect different data consumers and where they feel the most work needs to be done.

Video – Slides – Etherpad

GLAMPipe demo

Presented by: Susannaanas, Artturimatias and Zache

In this session Susanna Anas gave a demo of the GLAMPipe tool, which is bold attempt at a complete solution for managing data imports from a wide range of different data sources. The tool is not quite finished but already looks extremely powerful and a very exciting prospect for the near future.

Video – SlidesEtherpad

Importing Data:

Presented By:

Histropedia Co-founder Navino Evans held a session discussing the issues they have had importing mass data in Wikidata for UNESCO. The talk focused on several key points that were creating a high barrier of entry for people to be able to repeat the work that the team had done, and there were very useful discussions and ideas on how to solve these issues without waiting for new tools to be created.

There will be a more detailed post to follow about the findings in this workshop and how it will affect the data import process going forward.

Video – Etherpad

Well structured political data for the whole world: impossible utopia, or Wikidata at its best?

Presented by:

 In an example of people “just getting on with it” the folks at every politician have created new tools and adapted existing ones to suit their particular needs for importing and checking the political data they are importing in to Wikidata.

Visualising data requires good data, and this talk gave us some very good ideas on how we can use their practices and tools to help us improve the data we want to visualise.

The most eye-opening tool they demoed is not one they made, rather it’s a feature of an existing tool few people are aware of.  By using the wdedit function of listeria they can quickly edit a single statement type from a larger data set without visiting every item individually. This is a great tool for editathons and one more people should be using.

Video – Etherpad

Structured Data on Wikimedia Commons: what’s coming, and how to be involved as Wikidatans:

Presented by: 

Author(s) of the submission: Sandra Fauconnier

Like children waiting for Christmas, there is a palatable excitement when people start to talk about structured commons. Sandra’s talk let us know the state of this massive undertaking, meanwhile we let our imaginations run wild with the possibilities of the cool new things we can build when this project is finished.

One of the most exciting application for us at Histropedia would be the ability to plot images of a famous person on a timeline to show how they looked at different times during their life.

Video – Etherpad

Birthday Presents:

There were some great presents and lovely birthday wishes during this session. See them all here: Wikidata:Fifth Birthday.

I’ve listed two of my favorites below:

Of course we also presented the new version of our Histropedia Query Timeline tool during the birthday celebrations. I will write a separate post with details of the new version of the tool.


You can find all the presents and birthday wishes from the celebration here:


May the next year be filled with even more beautifully structured open data!!!

Sean McBirnie

Co-Founder at Histropedia

Latest posts by Sean McBirnie (see all)


  • Hello Sean,

    thanks for the article!

    I was wondering on the “Wikidata quality: a data consumers’ perspective” part, from your experience in developing Histropedia, what data quality aspects are usually problematic wrt. Wikidata?


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